K&N vs Mobil 1 oil filter – Which one is better?

An oil filter’s job is to remove impurities from engine oil as it circulates through the engine. K&N and Mobil 1 oil filters are two of the most popular brands on the market. 

But which one is better?

Both K&N and Mobil 1 oil filters are designed to keep your engine clean and free of harmful deposits. K&N and Mobil 1 oil filters also have similar pricing as you can expect to pay around $10-$15 for either oil filter.

But as you can’t pick both, you need to consider a few points like micron Rating, filtration efficiency, filtration media, compatibility, dirt Holding capacity, etc., to make an informed decision. 

We’ll pit the two brands against each other to see which one comes out on top in this head-to-head K&n vs. Mobil 1 oil filter comparison.

K&N vs. Mobil 1 Oil Filter: Head To Head Comparison

If you ask me which one I will pick, between K&n vs. Mobil 1 oil filters, I might go with Mobil 1 oil filters due to their filtration media and compatibility with synthetic oil. In addition, Mobil 1 comes with a synthetic fiber media with fiberglass, which lasts longer than cellulose media and helps to improve engine performance and longevity. 

But k&n is no less good when it comes to performance. They have a better dirt holding capacity, compatibility to work with heavier oils, and a bypass valve that can withstand much more pressure than Mobil 1 oil filters.

So, let’s compare other features before you make the final decision.

Brand History


K&N Oil Filter began in the early 1960s as a small business in Riverside, California, California. The company was founded by two Ken Ken Johnson and Norma Greengard.

K&N oil filters quickly gained popularity among automotive enthusiasts and racers for their ability to improve engine performance. K&N continued to grow and expand its product line throughout the 1970s and 1980s. Today, K&N is a global leader in the automotive aftermarket industry, with products sold in more than 30 countries worldwide.

Mobil 1

Mobil 1 was first introduced in 1974 as a synthetic motor oil brand and has been one of the most popular motor oils ever since. Their product lineup slowly evolved and included many automotive products, including the Mobil 1 oil filters.

Mobil 1 oil filters are a subsidiary brand of ExxonMobil Corporation. ExxonMobil Corporation is a result of the merger between Mobil Corporation and Exxon in 1999.

The Mobil Corporation was founded in 1911 and was originally known as the Standard Oil Company of New York, or SOCONY.  

Micron Rating 

The micron rating measures the size of the particles that the filter can remove from the oil.

While most oil filters have a micron rating of around 20, some are better than others. For example, Mobil 1 oil filters have a micron rating of about 20, while K&N has a micron rating of around 30.

Mobil 1 filters can remove tiny particles from the oil, and K&N oil filters can remove even smaller particles. This can be important if you use synthetic oil, as smaller particles can cause clogs and damage the engine.

Filtration Media 

K&N’s filtration media is made of cellulose designed to trap contaminants and prevent them from entering your engine. On the other hand, Mobil 1’s filtration media is made of synthetic material and a microfiber glass designed to trap contaminants and prevent them from entering your engine. 

Cellulose media is typically less expensive and can filter smaller particles than microfiber glass. However, it is not as durable and can break down over time, especially in high-temperature environments.

Microfiber glass media is more expensive but more durable and can filter out smaller particles.

Overall, the synthetic material used in Mobil 1 filters may offer better protection in high temperatures and heavy-duty use.

Filtration Efficiency 

There are two main types of filtration efficiency: high efficiency and absolute efficiency. High-efficiency filters can remove 85% or more of particles that are 5 microns or larger from the oil. Absolute efficiency means that the filter can remove 99.9% or more of particles that are 1 micron or larger from the oil.

So, which is better?

In general, high-efficiency filters are better for most people. This is because they can remove a wider range of particles, including both large and small ones. 

Mobil 1 oil filters are high-efficiency filters. They can remove up to 99% of contaminants from your oil, including both large and small particles. K&N oil filters are also high efficiency, but they are reported to be able to remove contaminants with only 80 to 85 % efficiency.

Dirt Holding Capacity

The K&N oil filter is designed to hold up to 56 grams of dirt and debris. On the other hand, Mobil 1 filter comes with a dirt holding capacity of 28 grams. This means that both of them can trap quite a bit of crud before it needs to be replaced despite K&N oil filters being slightly ahead. 

Mileage Intervals and Lifetime

Mobil 1 is an extended performance oil filter that provides up to 15,000 to 20000 miles of protection between oil changes, helping to save you time and money. That’s nearly 1½ years or 50% longer than most oil filters.

K&N oil filters are designed to be used for up to 7000 miles to 10,000 miles before needing to be replaced.

So, if you like to change oil frequently, the Mobil 1 oil filters may be a more cost-effective option.

Bypass valve

The Bypass Valve is designed for oil to bypass the filter when the filter becomes clogged. When the filter becomes clogged, the bypass valve will open to allow oil to bypass the filter and prevent engine damage. The bypass valve will close when the filter is no longer clogged, and the engine is running smoothly again.

In many cases, an oil filter can become over-pressurized and fail, potentially causing engine damage. Bypass valves can help to prevent this by relieving pressure on the filter. So it’s important to pick an oil filter that can operate under greater pressure.  

K&n oil filter is designed to operate at 30 to 45 psi while Mobil 1 oil filter can withstand up to 22 psi. So, the K&n oil filter certainly has the edge here.


K&N oil filters are compatible with conventional motor oils, while Mobil 1 oil filters are designed for use with synthetic and conventional motor oils. Also, when it comes to filtering out thicker oils, K&N is more suitable as it’s designed to filter out thick and heavier oils more efficiently.  

Warranty coverage

Regarding warranty, both k&n and Mobil 1 oil filters provide a one-year limited warranty. So none of them has the edge here. 

Final Verdict 

So, which filter is the better option, K & N, vs. Mobil 1 oil filter?

That’s tough to say. Both K&N and Mobil 1 offer excellent filtration and flow. However, K&N filters have a shorter lifespan, so they may not be the best choice for drivers who don’t want to change their oil as often. On the other hand, Mobil 1 filters are more budget-friendly and have a longer lifespan. So if you want an oil filter with a smaller micron rating and capacity to work under greater bypass valve pressure, you may want to use K&N oil filters.


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